No matter how much time has passed, we’ll always adore and remember our kitties. We keep such priceless memories forever in our minds! We may replay those special moments in our minds and relive the experience with our animal friends whenever we are sad or miss them. If you’re leaving the cat, you might be curious about how cats remember things. Will your cat still recognize you two weeks later? Consider hiring a sitter for a month. Or do cats have sophisticated enough brains to retain memories of you after a year or more?
In this post, I examine how felines’ memories function as well as the kinds of things they can recall (spoiler alert: their owners are among them). But a year from now, will your cat still remember you? Find out if your cat will miss you, remember you, or forget you by reading on!
Will my cat forget me after two weeks?
Even though they might not immediately identify you and you shouldn’t anticipate your cat to run up and give you a hug, it’s extremely possible that your cat will remember you after two weeks. Cats just don’t behave that that. Cats can take up to a month to properly acclimate and become acclimated to schedule adjustments. It won’t take long for your cat to get back to normal and be ready to welcome you home if you’re gone for two weeks or less.
The temperament of your cat will determine how long it takes for them to forgive you for leaving them (yes, I believe most cats feel this way). Cats vary in their ability to handle stress. I’ve frequently taken 2-week vacations away. When I initially returned, my kitties were usually a little distant from me, but there is no question that they are aware of who I am. Within a few hours, they resumed their pre-my departure activities. In fact, they end up being more affectionate than usual as they circle my feet and sit on my lap.
Will my cat forget me if I leave for a month?
Even if you go away for a month, your cat is still quite likely to remember you. Naturally, the longer you are away, the more likely it is that your cat will forget some of the subtler aspects of you, such as your voice or your daily routine. However, they will continue to recognize you, enjoy your distinctive scent, and be delighted to see you when you return home. Cats have excellent long-term memories, so it’s very likely that even after a month or so, your cat will still remember you.
Will my cat forget me after 1 year?
After a year, your cat is still quite likely to remember you. It’s important to remember, though, that a person’s relationship with their cat is not as close as theirs with their dog. Your cat may therefore remember you, but they might not be as happy to see you or as attached to you when you come home. But don’t worry; I’m sure you’ll be able to win them over again after spending some quality time with your cat. Remember that when we leave cats alone for an extended period of time, we oftentimes have no idea how they feel or what they are thinking.
We are aware that cats experience sadness when we leave and that they genuinely miss us. Therefore, it messes with their emotions and has a distinct impact on each cat. In fact, according to some studies I’ve read, cats may retain memories of important people for up to 10 years. Therefore, I don’t think we can rule out a cat we spent a lot of time with completely forgetting us for however long you’re going away, 2 years, 5 years, or 10 years!
How do cats’ memories work?
Much scientific research looks into how cats remember events and the ways in which their memories are processed. Like humans, some cats naturally have better memories than others. But overall, cats are a lot smarter than most people think!
Studies show that cats store memories in a similar way to us. They have both short-term and long-term memories that rely on different neural pathways. Here is a closer look at these two types of memory storage and the information stored in each.
Short-Term Memory in Cats
Also known as working memory, short-term memory is the information stored to facilitate current actions or near-future events. For example, in humans, remembering what you logged into your e-mail to check is stored in your short-term memory. You need to be able to quickly and easily retrieve this information to carry out the task you’re performing.
Cats don’t need to check emails, remember telephone numbers, or recall recent conversations. However, they do rely on working memory when solving problems. It can help them navigate their environment and make essential survival decisions.
Cats, for instance, preserve knowledge about where they hunted earlier that night in their short-term memory. They won’t have to waste time going back to the same place because of this. similar to how their memory of where something is progressively deteriorates when you hide it from your cat. Cats have short-term memory, but it’s not as good as ours. Cats can only hold information in their working memory for ten minutes, according to some studies. Others demonstrate that short-term memory persists for roughly sixteen hours following the event.
The type of information in question typically determines how long it will be successfully stored; the more significant the knowledge, the longer it will be stored. The amount of storage varies depending on how cats gather information. For cats, memories acquired through movement and position are more lasting than those acquired solely through sight.
Long-Term Memory in Cats
As you might have guessed, knowledge stored over lengthy periods of time is referred to as long-term memory. Compared to short-term memory, the information stored here is typically not as easily recalled. The information is nevertheless somewhere in the brain and can be accessed at any time if and when the need for it arises. Long-term memory lays the groundwork for subsequent decisions, whereas working memory assists with more immediate tasks. Cats, for instance, are aware of the best hunting grounds and which neighbors have dogs hiding in their yards.
So what knowledge does a cat store in its long-term memory? Does the genesis of memories have a trigger? Only incidents that elicit intensely happy or negative emotions are remembered long-term by our pets, according to researchers. Food, survival, and emotional impact-related memories could all be stored in long-term memory. Cats do, in fact, recall their owners! Your relationship with your pet creates a lot of positive emotional impact that your cat remembers for a long time. Cats have a dual need to store this information for later use because they also depend on their owners for food, water, and shelter.
Sadly, cats also have long-term memories, and these memories include fears, which originate from traumatic experiences that were later stored in the long-term memory. Activating this memory in the brain and producing stress-like symptoms similar to those experienced at the time of the original event are the causes of traumatized cat symptoms.
How long before cats forget their owners?
We have shown that cats retain long-term memories of their owners. But how long can cats retain the knowledge that is stored here? Will your pet always remember you? Can you make cats forget if you leave them alone for four days? Do cats become lonely when you aren’t around? Unfortunately, it is impossible to pinpoint exactly how long cats’ long-term memories are stored. The fact that long-term memories are stored for a longer period of time than short-term memories is excellent news. Several studies have shown that cats may retain short-term memory for up to sixteen hours. So at least this long, your cat will remember you.
You can pretty much guarantee that if you leave your cat for a week while on vacation, you’ll be remembered. Your cat should recognize your appearance, scent, voice, and behavior even after two weeks or a month apart. But a year from now, will your cat still remember you? The answer is probably still “yes” even after all this time apart!
Cats are known to have quite good memories, and many accounts exist of them recalling their owners even after a very long time has passed. Although cats might not approach you to give you a cuddle (as that isn’t particularly cat-like behavior), they will undoubtedly recognize you. However, a lot of this depends on how you feel about your cat and what happens after you leave.
What Factors Affect Memory Storage in Cats?
As was previously established, most cats can still recall their owners after a year. Don’t freak out if you’re leaving for a lengthy period of time! I am living proof that your cat will recall you! I recently returned home after several months away and was pleasantly surprised to see my cat to be suddenly incredibly attentive. I anticipated my cat suddenly attacking me because she saw me as a stranger. No, she was more loving than ever and it was obvious that she missed me. I’m not sure what else could demonstrate that cats remember their owners if this!
That said, each cat’s memory has a unique set of strengths. Long-term memory storage is impacted by a number of factors, which may also have an impact on how well your feline friend remembers you. The links between each of these elements and memory loss are discussed below for each of these elements.
Cats help emotional memories last longer. Cats who have many good memories of their owners are therefore more likely to recall them. The more you interact with your cat—whether through play, nighttime cuddles, or brushing its magnificent coat—the more likely it is to remember you positively. Cats certainly have a sense of humor, and they have clear memories of all the enjoyable occasions. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true: abusers of animals cause a negative emotional reaction. Trauma can result in life-long fears and other negative effects that our cats have previously struggled to overcome. This is because it imprints just as strongly as positive experiences.
Spatial vs. visual memory
Can you teach a cat to return home at night? To teach them what their curfew is, you might need to initially entice them with food. However, because of their microchip cat flaps, cats will soon be able to travel with ease and safely return home. This is due to cats’ extraordinary spatial memory, or more specifically, memories related to body movement or posture. Cats’ visual memories, on the other hand, are more difficult to recall. Cats can store visual memories, but their inability to physically interact with an object makes it more difficult to recall information.
Therefore, your cat will recall you more readily after a period of time apart the more physical interaction you have with them, especially when it comes to feeding. This is a good example of how video calling your cat while you’re away won’t aid in their memory development. Their memories of you are more spatial in nature, so talking to you on video won’t have much of an impact on how they remember you.
Age and cognitive decline
The more time you spend getting to know your cat, the easier it will be for them to remember you, whether you are gone for a week or a year. Any cat owner who has had their pet since it was a kitten is unlikely to forget who owns them. For memory formation and recollection, the more time you spend together, the better. Age does cause a steady decline in memory, though. In cats aged 11 to 14, nearly 30% exhibit symptoms of cognitive dysfunction. Age plays a role in this cognitive decline, with 80% of cats being 16 or older. Senior cats are therefore less likely to recall their owners.
Some of the most typical indications of cognitive dysfunction in cats are listed below:
- excessive crying or meowing without cause
- urinating or pooping outside of the litter box
- behavioral changes (either more clingy or aggressive)
- alterations to their regular sleeping habits
- indications of uncertainty or disorientation
- wandering around the house aimlessly
- more frequently falling over
- Your cat doesn’t eat and sleeps all day.
It is crucial to keep in mind that cognitive decline affects both the short-term and long-term storage of all information, not just the memories they hold of their owners. As a result, you should consult your veterinarian if you believe your cat is experiencing age-related decline. Although there is no cure, they can give you advice on how to effectively manage the symptoms.
And finally, what happened after you left your cat may have an effect on how they remember you. Cats’ brains can only store so much information. As soon as their memory capacity is reached, they begin overwriting previous memories and replacing them with fresh ones. Cats, however, simply remove the data they no longer believe important. Consider getting a new credit card with a new PIN. The old PIN gradually fades from memory each time you use your card and enter the new one. The same is true for phone numbers, zip codes, and other similar data.
Even though cats don’t use credit cards or zip codes, the idea is still valid! If they create new joyful experiences with someone else, your cat can start to erase your shared memories. Their memories of you might be overshadowed by new memories that are more crucial to their current judgments.
But before you freak out, remember that data suggests that memories don’t actually vanish or are forgotten for good. Simply said, they stop being as relevant and are harder to remember. Your return home will undoubtedly help your cat remember you, even if they needed a little reminder. It’s likely that when they see you, their memories will resurface.